Ben Sando

Altitude-variable gravity - atmospheric AND subterranean!

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As a Kerbal Space Program player, I'm trying to mentally differentiate between the two games' end-goals; I'm readily aware they will both end up with similarities and differences to each other as space-based sandboxes. KSP is excellent at the vehicle construction and flight mechanics, while it is still below average on terrain variability and interest.

Having looked at the roadmap, seeing the 'Orbital Mechanics' and "Manual Flight Controls' notes implies some form of space-based gameplay. It would be prudent, then, to assume a gravitic gradient as spacecraft enter orbit - that's pretty much a given.

But what if gravity became LESS, as we dig, spelunk, drive, fly; closer to the core of each planet?!?

This isn't a unique idea, it actually happens in real life. In most cases, though, other things (magma etc) generally gets in the way before we experience the effect.

From a technical perspective, it wouldn't seem to be difficult to implement; simply find the centre of the planet and plot a bell curve outward, where the surface gravity is the peak of the bell, and use that as a multiplier of the existing acceleration value. And it doesn't have to be a particularly high 'resolution' of accuracy either; as long as a spelunker has a perceptible difference against surface acceleration, then the effect is working as intended - e.g. change the multiplier value every 5% of distance from the surface to the core.

I'd love to be able to free-float around inside of a giant hollowed-out planet... And when space-based construction is implemented, then it would also work in the core as well!

 

 

 

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Gravity already does decrease as you get closer to a planet's core. Give it a try, easiest on Barren as it is the smallest. It can be tricky to get out of a zero or near zero gravity space though, as you can lose sense of which way is 'up' (where you originally dug from).

There are YouTube videos on this which inspired me to try.

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7 hours ago, Ben Sando said:

Having looked at the roadmap, seeing the 'Orbital Mechanics' and "Manual Flight Controls' notes implies some form of space-based gameplay. It would be prudent, then, to assume a gravitic gradient as spacecraft enter orbit - that's pretty much a given.

I think a gravitic gradient is a GREAT idea. I do think the game actually already works like that. Gotta test going real up.

But for now, space shuttle and spaceship just work in "stages". They go in stage "in orbit" and stage "landed". For those controls, it would be something that could be quite simplified. I've seen KSP before, and it is a great game of immense complexity for space driving. But I don't think Astroneer focus should be it. The controls should be added but kept simple.

And the reason for the controls should be using the shuttle for internal planet mapping or researching, and making it more useful for players. 

Consider this orbit. Just a screenshot from a moon orbiting a planet, no big deal. But you can see there are only 2 points for landing in it. Probably because of the terrain. I suggest we should use controls like Shift or Ctrl to go up and down in orbit; when getting closer, more little blue circles should appear, until we land on the place we want (or press the blue circle to activate "auto pilot mode"). We're not removing the usual gameplay, we're just adding new info.

20170130084152_1.jpg

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9 hours ago, time_trial said:

Gravity already does decrease as you get closer to a planet's core.

It does?!? Awesome!! I'm gonna bore me a tunnel!

7 hours ago, Kano said:

I've seen KSP before, and it is a great game of immense complexity for space driving. But I don't think Astroneer focus should be it. The controls should be added but kept simple.

And the reason for the controls should be using the shuttle for internal planet mapping or researching, and making it more useful for players. 

 

Exactly my thinking. KSP is 'more accurate' as an orbital mechanic simulator, but I found it wayyy too frustrating when I've burnt all my fuel up trying to dock, or figuring out the best staging ratios etc. I LIKED it when there was only 12~ parts and all you could do was land on the moon (no decoupling, all you did was explode the previous stage away!)

I think the key for Astroneer will be to make every task either useful, or fun. That should mean that orbits should naturally NOT be truly authentic; I'd be quite happy with button pushing. Perhaps manual flight should be an unlock, or reward, for acquiring certain resources or research?? But that perhaps should be a new topic.

 

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On 31/01/2017 at 7:36 PM, Ben Sando said:

I think the key for Astroneer will be to make every task either useful, or fun. That should mean that orbits should naturally NOT be truly authentic; I'd be quite happy with button pushing. Perhaps manual flight should be an unlock, or reward, for acquiring certain resources or research?? But that perhaps should be a new topic.

It can be useful and fun, the manual docking. Just consider something stage-like rather than player controlled, or even player controlled if they could make it not too complicated. Authenticity is something that I deeply value about this game, even though it is a "fantasy universe".

I don't think it should be rewarded, though. It should be added just as you use the shuttle for the first time. Else, you'd had to add modules that control it, which I myself would find very annoying.

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This idea works with another discussion about having an altimeter for wayfinding. Since we can navigate up and down, and like not to get lost so much, knowing your altitude is roughly in the same ballpark as a gravitic gradient.

 

 

Edited by travin

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